F1 and FIA call truce to work on new strategic plan

Reconciliation follows years of public disagreements, including between F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
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  • F1 and the FIA to ‘enhance the potential’ of the series
  • Both organisations ‘committed to delivering the best outcomes for the whole sport’

Formula One and the International Automobile Federation (FIA) have issued a joint statement announcing that the organisations are working on a ‘strategic plan’ for the benefit of the series.

Stefano Domenicali, chief executive of Formula One, and Mohammed Ben Sulayem, president of the FIA, have been involved in many public disagreements, but this statement signals a truce between the two bodies.

The joint statement, issued ahead of the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix this weekend, read: ‘The FIA Formula One World Championship has never been so strong and is growing globally and the FIA and Formula One are committed to delivering the best outcomes for the whole sport.

‘To that end, both parties are developing a new strategic plan that will allow us to seize the opportunities and further enhance the potential for F1 in the years ahead.’

Of the many flashpoints between Formula One and the FIA in the last couple of years, the topic of adding more teams to the grid has been the thorniest issue.

This came to a head when the FIA accepted Andretti’s prospective bid to join the series, but Formula One executives rejected the proposal on the grounds that it would not provide value to the championship.

Ben Sulayem has also found himself at the centre of numerous controversies, initially relinquishing day-to-day control of Formula One in February 2023 after being threatened with legal action by the series and the exposure of historical sexist remarks on his now-defunct personal website.

The Emirati was also investigated for allegedly interfering with the result of a Formula One race and for attempting to block the homologation of the Las Vegas circuit, although no evidence was found to suggest wrongdoing.

More recently, F1 Academy chief executive Susie Wolff has taken legal action against the FIA after the governing body conducted an unfounded investigation into a conflict of interest with her husband, Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff.

Ben Sulayem believes he has been the subject of a smear campaign. In an interview with the PA news agency last November he said: “If I did these things that I was accused of, you sit with me, challenge me and confront me. But don’t fabricate and throw things at me, and then when I tell you to prove it, you run away and don’t come back. That is not the way.”

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